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Dean Barker: Pre-season can be the base for Welwyn Garden City push

Dean Barker

By Matt Badcock

Dean Barker hopes a settled off-season will help Welwyn Garden City push forward next season.

The former Cockfoster and Northwood boss took over at the Southern League Division One Central club following the departure of Adam Fisher in late January.

With much of the squad following Fisher out of the door, Barker had to quickly piece together a side and call on favours to ensure the Citizens stayed in Step 4, having been promoted from Step 5 last season.

“We inherited a challenge,” Barker said. “We were left with only three players and the team hadn’t won for eight games so we were hovering above the relegation zone.

“We got the job on the Friday night and the game on the Saturday had already been cancelled so we suddenly had a game on the Tuesday against Sutton Coldfield, who were pushing for the play-offs.

“So it wasn’t easy but we started really well and were unbeaten in the first six games. It was hard for the first few weeks because we had different teams – some would come in and help you out for a game – but we were pleased with what we did.

“Welwyn have never been at this level before so they were learning it while it was tough. But it was good to get the job done and moving forward.”

Barker had a meeting with the club earlier this week to discuss next season and kick plans off.

Barker said: “We can get the players in we want, set out the way we want to play in pre-season. It will be great to get our team and hopefully we can have a good season.

“This season was probably the hardest I’ve experience so far but I’ll definitely be better for it.”

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